“This Is The Business We Have Chosen.”

The line is one made famous by the character of Hyman Roth in The Godfather, Part II; it is expressed by Roth to Michael Corleone while determining a course of action in their business relationship, while Michael plots to get under Roth’s screws.

The reason we find these sayings in ultraviolent mob situations attractive is that they are universal when stripped of the illicit and violent intent, and I can’t help but think that Andy Reid is not considering that line or something akin to it. He watched two sons be given jail time and the judge refer to his home as a “drug emporium.” The mania and drive that forces him to spend long hours to figure out ways to win may have cost him the time to be a father, and despite his best intentions, he must now watch the lives of his sons fall apart.


It is something you would not wish on anyone — watching Tony Dungy handle his son’s suicide (notably from painkillers) two years ago was a similar matter. However, if we are going to allow the intense scrutiny of the actions and choices of the players every week, judge them harshly based on speculation prior to charge or conviction, and note them as irredeemable cases, then at what point do we subject the men who lead them on the field to the same scrutiny? When do we get to determine their value or worth as men if their families are falling apart before the public’s eyes?

If you believe that we do not, that Andy Reid’s sons are grown men in their twenties, and do not reflect anyone else, that’s fine. Trouble is, that’s thinking in a vacuum where Garrett and Britt Reid will have second and third chances due to their father’s salary. They will pay their debt and may be able to pull their lives back together; referred to as “kids” more often than not by the media, obscuring their actual age. Will the same be said for the so-called miscreants of the NFL, the ones suspended from their living (sometimes rightfully so, sometimes not) for offenses of similar nature, and others not as severe? If players like Chris Henry and Adam Jones — players mostly the age of Reid’s sons — are reflective of the organizations they play for, then the judge’s impugning of Reid’s household has to reflect on the Eagles, as the team’s coach and a front office member, if we are going to be fair in our assessments and punishments.

Reid has done nothing to merit suspension, etc., they are not his crimes. But soft-pedaling the actions of his family members, while athletes routinely get tossed under the bus on accusations and the actions of the friends they keep, is somewhat less than fair.

Other, superior assessments of this matter:

Photo: AP/Chris Gardner

3 Responses

  1. Reid has done nothing to merit suspension, etc., they are not his crimes. But soft-pedaling the actions of his family members, while athletes routinely get tossed under the bus on accusations and the actions of the friends they keep, is somewhat less than fair.

    I disagree here, though only slightly. As the title of your post indicates, Chris Henry and Adam Jones chose a career in the NFL: a place where maintaining a league-approved, wholesome public image is written right into your contract.

    Garrett and Britt did not choose the last name “Reid.” The same discussion happens in the political realm, and the rough consensus seems to be that until a spouse or other family member takes active, public part in supporting their loved one’s political career — such as speaking at a benefit or appearing on a talk show — they’re allowed to remain in the background, and their pecadilloes and poor judgement are exempted from use as ammunition against that career.

    It’s not a perfect compromise, but it seems to be a fair one. And I believe it’s fair to apply it here.

    However much I disagree with a conduct policy that interferes with an athlete’s ability to live as s/he chooses off the field, it’s a bargain they all go into with open eyes. And while I’d wish for a perfect world in which America would choose to relax a little on the topic of recreational drugs, and stop conflating the most egregious elements of “thug life” with urban youth culture in general, it’s undeniable that by the time a kid is in a position to sign his first NFL contract, he is well aware that we live nowhere near that perfect world.

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